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REPORT: Maria Sharapova To Split With Coach

A change could be on the way for the five-time grand slam champion.

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Former world No.1 Maria Sharapova is going to end her collaboration with coach Thomas Högstedt in the coming weeks, according to a report circulating in Sweden.

 

Swedish tennis academy Good To Great has uploaded an article that states the two are set to go their own ways. The Academy is one of the more prestigious in the country that was founded by Magnus Norman, Nicklas Kulti and Mikael Tillström. It is understood that negotiations are now in place for Högstedt to work with Rebecca Peterson on a permanent basis.

Sharapova began working once again with Högstedt in April, but her progression on the tour has been marred by injury. The Russian has only been able to play in three tournaments since the Australian Open in January and hasn’t won back-to-back matches in any of them. At the Wimbledon championships, she retired in the first round whilst trailing 5-0 in the final set to Pauline Parmentier due to a forearm injury.

There have been no comments from either Sharapova or Högstedt about the potential separation. However, light has been shed on the situation by Peterson. The 23-year-old is currently ranked 70th in the world and has a win-loss record of 17-18 so far this season. Earlier this week she stunned Sloane Stephens in the first round of the Citi Open in Washington.

“After Wimbledon I went to Mariestad and Barcelona to train with ‘Hogge’. I’ve had the chance to work with him for a few weeks before the hardcourt season,” she said.
“It has been great weeks and he has made me understand what it takes, how the best (players) work and think and how I can use my game to beat them.”

One of the things that attracts Peterson to working with Högstedt is his experience. A former top 40 singles player during the 1980s, he has also worked alongside Eugenie Bouchard, Tommy Haas and Li Na.

“He is an extremely qualified coach and has worked with many top players at both WTA and ATP. He has not trained a Swedish (player) in 20 years so it is fun that he has wanted to help me.” She said.

Such a change to Sharapova’s setup comes as no surprise. She has recently been in Italy training with renowned coach Riccardo Piatti at his tennis academy in Bordighera for two weeks.

Sharapova is set to return to action next week at the Rogers Cup after being given a wild card into the tournament.

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Elise Mertens beats Camila Giorgi to reach her third quarter final in 2020

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Number 3 seed Elise Mertens from Belgium edged Last week’s Palermo semifinalist Camila Giorgi 6-4 6-2 in 1 hour and 44 minutes to secure her spot in the quarter final at the Prague Open. 

 

Mertens reached her third quarter final of the 2020 season after Shenzhen and Auckland and scored her second win in as many matches against Giorgi. 

Giorgi got an early break in the second game to open up a 2-0 lead, as Mertens hit her backhand into the net. Mertens broke straight back in the third game for 1-2. Giorgi saved two break points in the fifth game. 

Mertens broke for the second time in a eight-deuce seventh game to take a 4-3 lead and held her next two service games and served out the first set 6-4 with a backhand pass. 

Mertens got the first break of the second set in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. The Belgian player saved four break-back points in the sixth game to open up a 4-2 lead before breaking serve in the seventh game. The 2019 Doha champion hit her third ace on her first match point setting up a quarter final clash against either Tamara Zidansek or Canadian wildcard Eugenie Bouchard.   

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Krystina Pliskova upsets Petra Martic to reach the third round at the Prague Open

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Krystina Pliskova upset Petra Martic 6-1 7-5 after 1 hour and 22 minutes to reach the third round at the Prague Open. Pliskova hit 28 winners to 13 unforced errors. The twin sister of Karolina Pliskova scored her seventh career top 20 win and the second this season after beating Aryna Sabalenka in Shenzhen last January. 

 

Krystina reached the Prague tournament final in 2017. The Czech player reached her eighth WTA clay quarter final or better since 2017. 

Pliskova won the first game with four unreturned serves and reeled off nine of the first ten to open up a 3-0 lead. The Czech player saved two break points with heavy groundstrokes in the third game before breaking serve in the sixth game to close out the first set with three consecutive aces. 

Martic saved a break point in the third game of the second set. Pliskova fended off a break point in the fourth game with a service winner. Martic saved the first three break points, but Pliskova converted her fourth opportunity to take a 6-5 lead in a marathon five-deuce game before sealing the win on her second match point. 

“I feel I am playing on clay each year. Everybody was saying I cannot move and stuff, but I don’t think it’s like this. I have more time, so it’s good for me that clay is not that fast, I can focus on my game”, said Pliskova. 

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Serena Williams sets up clash against her sister Venus

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Former world number 1 and 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams rallied from one set down to beat her compatriot Bernarda Pera 4-6 6-4 6-1 to reach the second round at the inaugual edition of the Top Seed Open in Lexington (Kentucky). 

 

Williams was playing her first match since the Fed Cyp tie where she helped lead the United States to a Fed Cup win over Latvia. 

Croatian-born player Pera broke into the top 100 for the first time in 2018, when she reached the third round at the Australian Open and scored her first win over a top 10 when she beat Joanna Konta. She reached three semifinals in Prague, Lausanne and Juurmala, where she beat former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in the first round.

In the opening set Pera earned a break in the fifth game and saved two break points on her serve. Pera converted her first set ooprtunity with a forehand winner. 

Williams rallied from 0-40 down at the start of the second set and opened up a 3-1 lead with a break before Pera broke back to draw level to 3-3. When she was down 0-40 at 4-4 Williams saved four break points that would have helped Pera serve for the match. 

Williams earned two set points on Pera’s serve and converted her second chance with a forehand. Williams broke serve at the start of the third set to take a 3-1 lead and fended off two break points in the next game. Williams rallied from 0-40 down by winning the final nine points to claim the win. 

“It was a really calm atmosphere, really chill. I can’t say I disliked it. It was different. I have been through so many things in my career. I think I won today because I was calm for once, so that was really helpful”, said Serena Williams after the match. 

Serena set up a clash against her sister Venus, who beat Victoria Azarenka 6-3 6-2. Serena holds a 18-12 head-to-head lead over Venus. 

Both players held serve in the first four games. She hit an ace to hold serve for 3-2 before earning three break points. The US player converted her first chance to take a 4-2 lead after a double fault from Azarenka. Williams served for the set at 5-3. Azarenka earned a chance to get back on serve as Williams netted a forehand error at 30-30. Williams saved it and earned a set point. 

Azarenka made a double fault in the first game of the second set to face a break point. Williams got a double break to open up a 3-0 lead. Azarenka got her first game at 4-1. Williams pulled away to 5-1 with her solid serve. Azarenka held serve for 2-5. In the next game Williams earned her first match point and sealed the win with a lob winner. 

 

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